How to get involved in Debian Women

Subscribe to the mailing list

Get to know the other people involved in the Debian Women project and help shape the future of the project by participating in discussion on our mailing list. The debian-women list page includes a form for subscribing and unsubscribing, as well as list archives. (This is true for all the Debian list links in this document.)

In addition, everyone is encouraged to subscribe to the debian-devel-announce mailing list, to stay informed about the most important changes affecting Debian.

Submit your bio for the Profiles page

Are you a Debian volunteer, package maintainer, translator, or HOWTO author? We would like to recognize you for your hard work by adding you to our Profiles page of women who have contributed to Debian. Please tell us about yourself and your efforts by answering some questions and submitting your answers to Erinn.

Contribute content for the project website

We are always looking for new content for the site. If you have suggestions or content to contribute, contact the maintainer of that area:

  • General, Documents, FAQs, and Links: If you want to help out with the website but don't have a particular area of interest, contact Erinn.
  • Events: If you have an idea for a Debian Women event or would like to assist in event planning and maintenance of the Events page, contact Colleen.
  • Profiles: If you would like to help compile information for the Profiles page or recommend someone for inclusion, please contact Erinn.

The website is currently being revamped with a different infrastructure that will facilitate translation and otherwise help to make it more easily maintainable. If you would like to contribute to the new website, try this page for details.

Pick a project from the TODO list

The TODO list contains specific projects, large and small, that we hope to complete. To avoid duplication of work, please email Erinn and let her know which item you are interested in working on.

Join us on IRC

For answers to quick questions, real-time discussions, and informal chat, join the Debian Women IRC channel at #debian-women on the OFTC network. If you are new to IRC, you may want to check out the Linux IRC mini-HOWTO. We also have our own #debian-women IRC FAQ.

How to get involved in Debian

The goal of the Debian Women project is to encourage more women to get involved in Debian and to help women learn how to contribute to the project. A good place to start looking for a task that matches your interests and skill set is the main Debian "How You Can Help" page.

Familiarize yourself with Debian's goals, policies, and procedures

If you're new to Debian and aren't sure what differentiates Debian from other distributions, a good place to start reading is the Debian Social Contract, which also includes the Debian Free Software Guidelines. The goals and the history of the project are described in "A Brief History of Debian". If you are interested in the project's formal decision-making process, you should read the Debian Constitution.

Join the mailing lists

There are a wide variety of Debian mailing lists ranging from general discussion and questions (debian-user, also available in language-specific versions), to low-volume announcement lists (debian-announce and debian-devel-announce, which it's a good idea to subscribe to), to more targeted lists for specific projects, languages, and architectures. Lists can be viewed by category at the main Debian lists page, or you can browse the complete list of lists. Information about general list policies and instructions on subscribing and unsubscribing form the Debian lists are covered in the mailing list introduction.

Become a Debian developer

In order to submit packages directly to the Debian archive, or to get direct login access to most of the many Debian machines, or to participate in Debian votes or run for office, you will need to become a Debian developer (DD). To do so, you must first complete the New Maintainer (NM) process.

However, you can participate in Debian development without actually being a DD - in fact, this is part of the NM process. The most common way is by packaging new software, or by adopting an existing package. You should subscribe to the Debian Mentors mailing list if you plan to get involved in packaging. This is where you can ask questions about packaging issues and ask for a sponsor once your package is ready to be uploaded.

Additional documentation related to Debian development:

  • The Applicant's Checklist is an ordered list of the steps involved in the New Maintainer process.
  • The debian-mentors FAQ contains general information on the NM process.
  • The technical aspects of packaging are covered in detail in the New Maintainers' Guide.
  • The Debian Developer's Reference contains information about the tools and procedures used by DDs. It also contains a section called "Applying to Become a Maintainer" that will be of interest to prospective developers.
  • The Debian Policy Manual describes the design and contents of the distribution and the package archive in addition to the policies that packages must conform to in order to be included in the distribution.
  • The Developers' Corner contains a great assortment of links to documentation that will be useful to developers as well as those who are interested in learning how Debian works as an organization and a distribution.
  • The Work-Needing and Prospective Packages (WNPP) page contains a list of packages that are in need of new maintainers. debian-wnpp is the corresponding mailing list to this project.
  • If you're looking for a place to start contributing, check out the development TODO list. Projects on the TODO list are rated by skill requirement, ranging from basic to advanced. Many of the projects on the TODO list do not require developer status.

File bug reports

If you want to contribute to Debian by submitting bug reports, we suggest you read the bug reporting information.

Write or revise documentation

For helping with documentation, see the Debian Documentation Project (DDP), and the corresponding list, debian-doc. If you'd like to put your writing skills to work for Debian, here are some potential projects:

  • Manual pages (manpages): If you find an error (or just room for improvement) in the manpage for a particular project, you should file a bug report for the project, and if possible submit a patch to fix the problem. There are also many programs without manpages.
  • Manuals: There are several Debian manuals covering various subjects for both end users and developers. Some manuals are maintained by a specific Debian project, while others are maintained by a single individual. Instructions for submitting corrections or additions are generally included in the beginning of these documents.
  • TODO list: The DDP has its own TODO list.

Work on the Debian website

For information about website development, see "Helping with the Debian web pages"; the corresponding list is debian-www. If you are interested in working on the website, you may want to start by reading "How is www.debian.org made".

  • Create content: CVS commit access is required to add new content to the site. If you are not a Debian developer but you want to contribute content, you should subscribe to the debian-www mailing list and find a developer to work with you. See this guide to creating and editing the Debian web pages.
  • Proofread: If you are fluent in English, you can proofread pages on the site and report errors to the debian-www mailing list.
  • Translate: If you are fluent in a language other than English, you can help by translating the Debian pages. If you are interested in this, you should read the guide, "Translating Debian web pages". The Debian website translation statistics page contains links to lists of which pages need to be translated into each language.
  • TODO list: The Debian web pages also have a TODO list here.
  • Fix bugs: Assist in fixing items listed in the list of website bugs.

Internationalization and localization

One of the goals of the Debian project is to make the distribution available in every language. This process involves both internationalization (or i18n - preparing software to be translated into multiple languages) and localization (or l10n, providing and updating translations). The main mailing list for the internationalization project is debian-i18n; also see this list of various language-specific localization mailing lists. Internationalization and localization may also be discussed on the lists for a particular project; i18n and l10n issues with the Debian website are discussed on the debian-www list, for example.

  • The Introduction to i18n explains the basics of internationalization, as well as the technical aspects of the i18n process. Mainly for programmers updating software to be multilingual.
  • The l10n state of packages for each language can be viewed in these language listings. For each language, there is a list of "translations to do" which contains packages which need to be translated into that language.
  • The Debian Description Translation Project (DDTP) FAQ explains how to get involved in the DDTP and how to use the Debian Description Translation Server (DDTS).
  • Internationalization and localization of the Debian installer is discussed on the debian-boot mailing list.

Quality Assurance

The Debian Quality Assurance (QA) project strives to fix problems that arise in the distribution as they are reported. This includes fixing bugs, verifying that packages conform to policy, creating and improving documentation, and various public relations functions. Here is a list of duties of the Debian QA project. The QA mailing list is debian-qa.